|RPG published by
|First Publication||2007 (Mongoose Edition)
2008 (Catalyst Edition)
|Essential Books||CthulhuTech Core Book
CthulhuTech is a roleplaying game developed by and published by WildFire LLC (formerly published by Mongoose Publishing and Catalyst Game Labs). It combines Lovecraftian eldritch horror with Anime mecha (and hentai, according to some of the lore and sample adventures) sensibilities set in the grimdark future of the late 21st Century, complete with a total war on all fronts that would give Creed a chubby. It's surprising no video games are made about it, probably cus a lot of the magical realm stuff would have to be discarded.
Early in the 21st-century a woman by the name of Teresa Ashcroft discovered arcanotechnology, the science behind magic. The discovery revolutionized the world and sent her mad. Her colleague Simon Yi continued her research, laying the groundwork for the Dimensional Engine, a clean and inexhaustible power source. He was also driven mad. The research was taken over by one Doctor Golvash Czeny, who assembled a team and let people work on minute parts of the D-Engine project. While the staff suffered psychotic attacks, nervous breakdowns, frequent nightmares and other such unpleasantries, they were not driven mad, which was a good thing for everyone involved. Eleven years after Teresa Ashcroft began her research, the first arcanotech-powered D-Engine went public. After three months of trying everything, the global scientific community was forced to admit that the things were legit. With the limitless power of the D-Engine, it became possible to build anti-gravity pod systems, or A-Pods, with which vehicles could fly. D-Engines could also power mecha, allow for better space travel and gave the power required to build underwater research and food-growing bases. It was a pretty swell time to be alive, as long as you didn't live in the Middle East who had their economies go to shit because nobody bought oil anymore and resented the growing power of the UN, so they decided to side with China (who had not joined the UN and its growing power) and another Cold War started. Things tensed up and a global Jihad was an ever-growing threat.
And then the Migou struck.
The Migou were an alien race living on the outskirts of our solar system. Looking like a mix of flies, crustaceans and Illithid, they saw humanity as a threat to their colony on Pluto. They decided to wage war on us, seeking to destroy the human race and acquire the secrets of arcanotech for themselves, since humans developing D-Engine was equal to a monkey developing nuclear technology in a reservation to their eyes, considering the Migou THEMSELVES did not even invent D-Engine yet. To do this they engineered a race in our image called the Nazzadi (who looked like Drow with seriously cool tribal tattoos), who are mostly unaware of their artificial nature and roots. Believing they were Earth exiles they fought humanity for 6 years, killing untold numbers of people until their leaders (who knew the truth of things from the beginning) called it quits and made their knowledge of the Migou and their status as cloned lifeforms known to both their soldiers and humanity. Three-quarters of the Nazzadi turned on the remainder loyalists and drove the Migou-aligned forces out. They made peace, joined Earth as allies against Migou, were given Haiti and Cuba to form their own nation (and to make them easier to fight if they somehow turned on humanity again) and joined their forces, tactics, and mecha with that of humanity.
After the defection of the Nazzadi, the Migou throw a hissy fit decided to wage their war themselves. Putting all of their race to a fuckhuge ship the size of the Moon, they landed on Earth en masse. And so the second Arcanotech War began. The Migou, seeing the threat of the cults, also worked against them.
Meanwhile, a less obvious war had been going on. Cultists that had been in the shadows of humanity since the discovery of fire saw the advent of arcanotechnology as a sign that it was a time to revive their dead gods. The Chrysalis Corporation, innocent at first, corrupted afterward by Nyarlahothep himself, worked to undermine the New Earth Government and other cults worked to corrupt humanity through vice.
Now with the cults becoming more and more blatant in their actions and the Migou becoming more aggressive in an effort to stop them, the New Earth Government has realized that the war was evolving into something new and so declared the Arcanotech War to have ended and the Aeon War to have begun.
TL;DR Human-Nazzadi (Dark Elf expies) Alliance versus the cold, technocratic Migou versus the Cult of Dagon versus The Rapine Storm (think Scourge from Warcraft) led by Hastur. Yup, everybody is an enemy. A second Migou hiveship was on its way, but Human-Nazzadi remnants of the colonies hiding in the Oort Cloud laid down the law on the Migou's Pluto base, forcing the hive ship to return.
CthulhuTech uses a system called Framewerk, known to some fa/tg/uys as 'lol poker dice'. The system uses d10s and success is based on either the single highest dice rolled or the sum of the highest sum of multiples of dice rolled or the sum of the highest straight of dice rolled (e.g. 4 5 6) hence the poker dice moniker. The system is notoriously swingy. A script has been created to show the distribution of rolls. 
The Rite of Sacred Union is a magical ritual discovered on the South Pole by the Chrysalis Corporation. Its researchers determined that by using it they could transform a human into a Tager, a being of great power that does not suffer the madness of the lesser Dhohanoids. Training would need to be intense and unforgiving, but the end product would be a powerful soldier for the cause indeed. However, some of the researchers working on the project realized that maybe summoning the Great Old Ones to the world might not be the best idea, so they defected and stole or destroyed all research the Company had. Of the twelve that did this only three survived to found the Eldritch Society. They would dedicate themselves and the sacred warriors that are the Tagers to fighting the Chrysalis Corporation and its allies wherever they can. Basically Furries and Otherkin plus several tons of Grimdark up the wazoo - or, if you're at all familiar with anime, basically an entire PC race made out Guyvers.
There are 10 known types of Tagers, some more common than the others. As mentioned before, about 0.08% of the population in large cities are Tagers or about 800 per 1 million. 80% of those are either Phantoms or Mirages or about 320 each. 17% are Shadows, Whispers, Echos and Spectres, a rough 34 each. 2% are Nightmares or Vampires (8 each) and the final 1% are either Efreeti or Widow with 4 of both types. Tagers are affected by their symbiont: and have certain parts of their character enhanced: Efreet become proud and righteous, Spectres are aloof and resolute, Echoes are predatory and love to chew on hard things and so on. To undergo metamorphosis a Tager has to play to these character traits, even more, often going out of their way to act in a way where another action would be preferable. In their new form, Tagers are mostly their old one cranked up to 11, but they often gain one or two new inherent abilities.
All Tagers have something called a Limit Weapon: with a powerful force of will they can, once every 24 hours, deploy an extremely potent attack capable of ending a fight with ease. Tagers experience a boost to their abilities both in mortal and Tager form, with the latter being far more potent. They also gain new senses, tougher forms that also regenerate, immunity to gas attacks, are linked so that they can tell that there's one of them within a 1 mile radius, have microhooks on their hands and feet allowing them to scale sheer surfaces and can figure out if someone's a Dhohanoid by observing them closely for a minute. Tagers do lose some of their Orgone: most of them lose half of it but the rarest (Efreeti, Nightmares, Vampires and Widows) lost all of it. Mirages and Shadows have abilities that run on Orgone, but this merely drains their ability to use or help with magic and can be kept on indefinitely. Spectres run on Orgone as well, but they can’t keep their abilities going once out of Orgone.
Variants within the same type of Tager exist. Anywhere from five to seven different weapon types have been observed between the various types of Tager, and all are upgraded when a Tager undergoes metamorphosis, becoming more deadly as well.
- The Phantom is the closest the Eldritch Society has to a foot soldier. They are aggressive and tough, capable of fighting at both range and close combat with lethal efficiency. Their most common weapons are blades sprouting from their palms, blasts of arcane energy coming from its forehead and a howl capable of knocking something out of the sky and knocking a land-based target down. Variants include application of their claws over their blades and other applications of their howls to deal with enemies. Their Limit Weapon is called the Tentacle Sheathe, where a mass of tentacles shoot out of their chest, hitting all targets in close range and dragging one back to be devoured.
- The Mirage is the other common Tager fielded by the Eldritch Society. More fit for a less direct role in combat, a Mirage draws its name from its ability to create a displacement field around itself making it appear as if it was several feet away from its true location. This, paired with its natural agility makes it more fit for a stealth-oriented approach, closing in on targets and eliminating them that way. If the jig is up and a fight breaks out it can deliver powerful blasts of solid light to attack from a range, or lash at enemies with its barbed tentacles capable of restraining a target. Mirages tend to be precise, cautious and very aware of their surroundings. Variants of the Mirage use their tentacles in different ways, mainly to hinder enemies rather than kill them. Their Limit Weapon is a non-lethal one: it generates 1d5 harmless copies of itself capable of distracting the enemy by making the pack seem more numerous than it actually is or use them as a diversion while the real Tagers flank the enemy.
- A Shadow's greatest ability is to make itself completely invisible, allowing it to strike where it needs to as the situation requires. The quills it can fire from its body are coated with a paralytic poison, capable of knocking someone out for several minutes. The spines on its appendages might lack this poison, but in close range a Shadow can easily kill a target taken down by its debilitating poison. Shadows are patient and cool of temper, yet will kill without hesitation or feeling when the situation calls for it. Variants of the Shadow can employ their ranged quills as a burst attack at the cost of range, use its poison at close range or make a single ally invisible as well. With Multiport, its limit weapon, it can ninja it up by appearing all around targets within its range and strike several targets in quick succession. As a being meant for stealth it is only lightly armored and not fit for prolonged fights.
- Whispers are not meant for combat. They are not particularly strong or tough and have no particularly strong weapons. What they lack in a straight up fight however they have in feistiness, a massive array of senses including hearing, x-ray vision, thermal senses and sonar all at long range, the ability to deploy blasts of blinding light and the ability to fly. A Whisper is often determined, observant, patient and has an eye for detail. They also tend to develop voyeuristic tendencies. Some Whispers are tougher than others, gaining access to more powerful weapons than their usual entangling whips. While their Limit Weapon, Razor Wing, can do quite some damage it is used best as an escape route, allowing a Whisper to dart between enemies in a relatively straight line and hit them all as the Tager makes their escape.
- Echoes are the most predatory of all the Tagers. They are also the only amphibious Tager who can move extremely fast underwater and can breathe there as well, making it the only Tager to be able to function in the water with any skill. That doesn’t mean that they are helpless on land: they have powerful jaws capable of tearing through flesh and bone and a beam attack that works as well underwater as it does on land. An Echo can also release a cloud of blinding ink as if it were a squid, but this only works underwater and has a limited number of uses (10) per day. Variant Echoes can also tear at their targets with their claws, can electrify any target they strike or strikes them, and deploy a sonar pulse capable of detecting nearby foes. Echoes have amazing sense of scent, being able to detect blood in less than one part per million in both air and water. Smelling blood however makes the Echo rather antsy, and it allows it to use its Limit Weapon, Frenzy. This greatly speeds up the Echo and allows it to close in on a target to tear at it with great ferocity, and the speed it travels at creates so much froth in the water the Echo becomes partially obscured. In their human form these Tagers are naturally aggressive with enhanced senses, have a love for water, live on instinct and love to chew on hard and tough food. No Jawbreaker is safe within reach of an Echo.
- The Spectre is a creature of death. Unnaturally cold they can freeze anything they touch to lethal effect. Spectres also extrude something called the Gravewind: a putrid mist obscuring their forms and being a threat even to other Tagers and Dhohanoids. But their greatest ability is to turn insubstantial, allowing them to phase through pretty much anything that’s not warded against otherworldly things. This also doesn’t make them immune to attacks: chalk it up to mystical stuff. Variant Spectres are capable of extending this phasing to one other living being for a while, but this rapidly drains their Orgone. Other abilities is to mystically age a target up to slow it down, and change the Gravewind so that it immediately obscures an area instead of dealing damage as well. Their Limit Weapon is called Phasing and allows them to enter a living target and materialize inside of them, tearing them apart from the inside. Spectres are precise and very determined, yet aloof, emotionally distant and have trouble connecting with other people.
- The Nightmare is massive, towering over many of its Tager compatriots with its massive 9’ body, extremely powerful arms and its wide upper body that seems to be lacking a head. The Nightmare’s signature weapon is located on its shoulders, where a pair of pods rest that shoot crimson balls of mystical force at its enemies, capable of punching through any man-sized target. With its massive claws and arrays of tentacles it can restrain a target and make it tear it apart with its massive strength. Variant Nightmares can employ their bulk and stomp on enemies after jumping into the sky, or send out blasts of energy traveling alongside walls and floors to find their target. Its Limit Weapon is the potent Mystic Blast, ripping a hole the size of itself in anything straight ahead of it for several yards and is capable of bringing down even the largest of targets. On top of this a Nightmare regenerates very fast and is quite tough. Nightmares are menacing, cold-tempered and murderous, reveling in shedding the blood of its enemies.
- The Vampire is akin to a mix of a Whisper and a Nightmare. Its massive form is carried aloft by a pair of leathery wings with a span of well over 30 feet. From the air it can rain down sprays of cruel barbs capable of dealing horrifying damage to living creatures. Up close their mere touch can boil the blood in an enemy’s veins and can decay inanimate objects. Their most lethal weapon however is their Limit Weapon, the Bloodbath. This is essentially a massive bleeding tumor dropped from above, showering every target within 20’ in its gore. That’s when the hemorrhaging begins: all struck begin to bleed violently from every hole in their body. Hiding behind something won’t work: unless you’re mystically shielded you’re done for if you’re within range of the blast. This makes the Bloodbath capable of taking out even a mecha pilot, though doing so against more than one is next to impossible. Variants of the Vampire play up the powers of their namesakes: mastery over the dark, cowing enemies into submission and, coming from their bat-like nature, a sonic blast capable of stunning and hurting a target. Vampires are, to put it mildly, not very nice people. They are arrogant, predatorily, bloodthirsty and very cruel, with a love of torture. Falling into the hands of a Vampire is a cruel fate indeed, with victims who somehow survived being riddled with scars and visibly damaged blood vessels.
- The Efreet is a thing of fire. Always on fire, the Efreet chars the ground it walks and can ignite things with a touch. Its body burns so hot that anything striking it will be hurt from the temperature alone. The Efreet’s main downside is that it’s pretty much a torch in the dark, but when an Efreet is deployed subtlety is not needed. It is the strongest of all Tagers, capable of hitting with more force than even the Nightmare. It has no special weakness to being submerged, and it is immune to fire and other blasts of high temperature. The Efreet attacks with its powerful fists and the searing heat of its breath. Certain Efreet can also attack with whips of fire, stare enemies into submission or blast everything around them with fire. Its Limit Weapon, the Meteor Strike, calls down a rain of superheated rock attacking anything within a 400 square foot area, capable of dealing massive damage and hits all targets within range. Efreet are proud, righteous and relentless, seeing themselves as the greatest enemies of the servants of the Old Ones.
- The Widow is a mix of a spider and terror. It can move and climb frighteningly fast, hiding in the shadows and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. It can produce webbing capable of restraining all but the strongest targets and can support great weight with ease. Initially caustic as well, the Widow can weaponize its webs or just restrain someone with it. Additionally, the bite of a Widow can paralyze a foe, allowing it to easily overpower a prey for capture, or play with it before killing it. Certain Widows can weaponize their jumping ability to pounce on their foes or use their webbing as personal armor. Their Limit Weapon, Cocoon, allows them to encase a foe in a, well, cocoon. After that they can decide on what to do with the target: either encase it and have it suffer some minor damage from the caustic threads, or inject them with venom that will liquefy their insides and allow the Tager to drink them. Widows tend to be morbid, patient, cold-blooded, cruel, and have a love for the grotesque.
- Particularly aggressive and bloodthirsty Phantoms in tune with their bodies can metamorphize into the Wraith. Improving on everything it used to be, the Wraith also gains mastery over its own inertia. Becoming the Juggernaut (bitch), they can knock over people, Dhohanoids, targets in power armor and even massive beasts with ease. They can also root themselves in place, making running into them a very bad idea, especially when you're going 120+ mph. Sure, it'll hurt the Wraith but you'll be too hurt in turn to feel a sense of accomplishment. They also suffer less falling damage. On top of that a Wraith also learns how to turn its Limit Weapon into an area of effect around it instead of a cone in front of it, with the same chance to gobble up a particularly unlucky morsel.
- If a Mirage is the right mix of attuned to its body, aware of it surroundings and unremarkable of form it can become a Memory. These Tagers have the ability to go full-on Silence, forcing anyone who has not seen them for even a few seconds to completely forget them. They don't show up on recordings either: they just all-out vanish from pictures and storage data. If a Memory is being chased and manages to bolt out of sight even for a moment its chasers will forget what they were chasing, allowing the Memory to strike again as it pleases. Its new Limit Weapon allows the Memory to create illusionary duplicates of its enemies, shuffle their position with the real enemy and have the illusions attack each other and the real enemies, throwing the fight into chaos and setting them up for the pack to finish them off.
- When a Shadow is patient and careful, yet deadly and kills without a second thought it might become a Phantasm. A Phantasm's poison is more potent, its attacks stronger and it is stealthier than its previous form. On top of that, they gain the ability to create potent illusions. These can only be audiovisual in nature, so they don't give off heat, have no scent and can't be smelled. This can be in the form of an object, but can also be used by the Phantasm to disguise themselves. Phantasmagoria, its new Limit Weapon, allows the Phantasm to create illusions that terrify and confuse entire groups of enemies, making them easy pickings for the Tager and its allies.
- If they are particularly observant and filled with dogged determination a Whisper can become a Dream. These Tagers have derived their names from the ability to see into peoples’ dreams at-will. On top of this they can read the surface thoughts of a person, as well as determining their emotional state and its cause. On top of this they have senses superior to even that of their previous form, are blindingly fast and possess potent regeneration offsetting their modest armor. The Dream’s new Limit Weapon is called Gossamer Whirlwind. This allows the Whisper to deploy a blast of blinding light around it, strike all enemies within a certain range and then charge off at 24 times its regular flying speed as if it used Razor Wing, making for a deadly escape option.
- To undergo metamorphosis an Echo has to give into its primal nature. It must live by instinct, fight on after smelling blood, have hunted aquatic foes and even gone the extra mile by devouring and digesting some of the prey it has hunted. When it has done all this, an Echo can become an Impulse. Aside from massively increasing their swimming speed (20 times the normal speed for their stats, which is doubled when using Frenzy) they gain the ability to teleport: they can do so to any location they can see or within 25 yards where they cannot. They can only do so alone, but this does not bother the Impulse: they are great bloodthirsty hunters. On top of increasing the power of their attacks and increased regenerative abilities their new Limit Weapon is Frenzyport, allowing them to teleport around their targets and attack with their powerful bites. This also allows them to focus all their attacks on a single enemy, which has little chance to survive the fury of an Impulse.
- When a Spectre becomes particularly adept at striking without being seen, tenacious even when near-dead, focused on its duty and distant towards others it might become a Revenant. The Revenant is death personified. They become near-impossible to kill: they suffer less from injury and hits that would put them at the risk of dying will instead put them out of commission for a while, allowing them to regenerate at a frightening speed. Even when dismembered, torn in half or cut into a dozen pieces it can just grow back. Only the most powerful of attacks and largest of weapons can kill a Revenant permanently. On top of all of this the Revenant gains the Deathly Repose Limit Weapon. This allows them to violently explode, dealing massive damage to anything within a five-yard radius. After a minute the Revenant will reform and after ten it’ll be ready for action again. This means that the Tager should only use this when they are not being chased, or have someone to drag their reforming body out in a hurry.
- Not often very nice people, a Nightmare who take the worst aspects of their symbiont to their extreme will become a Torment. The Torment’s mere touch is agony: those who touch it become wracked with pain. On top of this, the Torment’s cruelty gives it an edge when fighting against injured opponents. Even more dangerous and bloodthirsty than its previous form, everything about the Torment is bigger, stronger and more lethal. Combined with its new Limit Weapon, Death Blossom, it is one of the most dangerous Tagers out there. Death Blossom hits everything within 20 yards with a massive blast of energy, capable of ripping through pretty much anything in a single shot. Fortunately, this targets selectively: only the Torment’s enemies will be ripped apart by the force of this attack.
- The cruelest and most vicious of all the Vampires might become one of the monstrous Bloodgods. A winged 10’ thing of nightmares, a Bloodgod takes the disposition of a Vampire to its logical conclusion. They gain a mastery over flesh and bone that, in its most benevolent form, heal people, perform plastic surgery, grant people natural weapons like claws and fix deformities and handicaps. However, a Bloodgod is more inclined to use this to horrifyingly disfigure people and kill them by reshaping their bodies alone. Anything that is not capable of regenerating on its own will be permanently disfigured by this attack and require magic to return to their true shape. They also gain a new attack in the form of Nerve Strike, which can make an enemy lose the ability to act for a bit. On top of that, the Bloodgod gains a new Limit Weapon in the form of Meltdown. This is a burst released from the Bloodgod, forcefully deforming everything around it. Those who survive (and that’s not likely) will be horribly disfigured and disabled, and easy pickings for the Bloodgod itself.
- With enough moral conviction, relentlessness and affinity for fire an Efreet can become an Inferno. Its wings allow it to fly around at a surprising speed, but its most dangerous new ability is that it gains pyrokinesis, allowing it to attack as if it were a pyrokinetic of significant skill, without having to use Orgone. It can also become one with fire, becoming very difficult to spot while inside and can travel at a staggering 400mph within the same flame. The Inferno’s new Limit Weapon, Unearthly Radiance, blasts everything within range of the attack, setting them on fire and blinding them from the brightness of the attack.
- When a Widow becomes a particularly good hunter, terrifying, and left behind horrifying aftermaths of its butchery it can become a Horror. Non-Tagers who see a Horror must resist a supernatural wave of fear, with the Horror being able to stare down targets to increase this effect. In turn they are immune to fear themselves, with not even an Old One being able to scare them (but it will drive them insane). Horrors gain the new Spinneret Dance ability, allowing them to encase all enemies within range in web and cutting them up with their many bladed limbs.
Eight books have been released for CthulhuTech. These books provide with a variety of material to play a variety of games with. The books are:
- CthulhuTech Core Rulebook is just that: the core rulebook. It's comprehensive with enough material to run all kinds of games from Engel and Mecha games to Eldrich Society games, as well as police and investigator games. It is guilty of the whole "talk about stuff that appears in late books so you have to buy those" thing with Para-Psychics.
- Vade Mecum (Latin for useful book/useful object, used in the context of a frequently referred to handbook) is the CthulhuTech Companion. It is essentially more CthulhuTech. It has rules for Cascades (gun fu and other martial arts), more Mecha and Tagers, the rules for Para-Psychics, new monsters, new spells and all sorts of other stuff. Also, focuses on underwater combat.
- Dark Passions is a sourcebook on the various smaller cults. This makes them ideal enemies for police and investigator games, and possibly an entry point for Tager games as well. If you play a higher powered game however you won't find a lot of information here though. Note that there are two versions of this book: the original Mongoose printing which is in black and white, and the full-color Catalyst printing which is the standard for the game.
- Damnation View is the metaplot book for the year 2086. It details how things are going to shit for the NEG and includes a number of storylines. It also details Secret Services, which act like more or less the Men in Black for the NEG.
- Mortal Remains is the NEG/Migou sourcebook. It details daily life in the NEG, looks into the Nazzadi and describes the Migou and their mindset. Includes new vehicles and mecha for both parties, describes how you can make Migou characters and lists rules for the Nephilim.
- Ancient Enemies is the sourcebook for Tagers and the Chrysalis Corporation. It has two new Tagers and metamorphized versions of all ten of them, new Dhohanoids, backgrounds on both the Eldritch Society and the Chrysalis Corporation and rules on how to play a Dhohanoid game alongside rules for them.
- Unveiled Threats is the gear book detailing weapons (now fully illustrated), gear, vehicles, and armor. Also includes rules for drugs (coke is now sold over the counter!), new spells of all kinds, magical artifacts that will mess the user up, some background on technology and some weapons and armor for both the EOD and the Migou.
- Burning Horizon is the metaplot book for the year 2087. The Independent Solar Colonies, a coalition of the survivors of the various NEG colonies, has made it to Earth after kicking the Migou's asses and deals so much damage that the Second Hive Ship runs back to Pluto. The Migou are sore losers (Being kicked in the shins by your recently cloned slaves and the butt-monkeys of the universe, humans would make anyone bitter) and unleash the Migou Hemorrhagic Virus, which is pretty much Influenza meets Ebola on steroids. A cure is invented, however it's rewriting of DNA and empowering the individual with immunities is shunned by some Earth citizens. The ISC forces have brought along new technology in the form of the Inertial Dampener, an expansion on the D-Engine which pretty much negates any inertia you'd experience in space, allowing a ship to start and stop on a dime and turn at speeds that would normally liquify a human from sheer G-forces alone. The book contains rules for space combat, new mecha, and vehicles for fighting in space and rules for ISC characters who now fight alongside the NEG forces as the Coalition. The plot is promoted from Grimdark to Nobledark.
- Cthulhu Void Tech: An attempt to fix the broken Framewerk System